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Hexamitiasis

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Introduction

Hexamita meleagridis (pigeons H. columbae) is a protozoan parasite of turkeys, pheasants, pigeons, and some game birds. It is transmitted by faeces, fomites, carriers. Inter-species transmission may occur. In commercial ducks a related parasite Tetratrichomonas can cause poor growth and drops in egg production.

Signs

  • Initially birds nervous, chirping.
  • Later depression.
  • Inappetance.
  • Loss in weight.
  • Frothy, watery diarrhoea.
  • Terminal coma and convulsions.

Post-mortem lesions

  • Dehydration.
  • Intestine flabby with some bulbous dilation, contains excessive mucus and gas.
  • First half of intestine inflamed.
  • Caecal tonsils congested.

Diagnosis

Lesions, scrapings from fresh material. Differentiate from transmissible enteritis, paratyphoid, trichomoniasis, histomonosis.

Treatment

Tetracycline, dimetridazole, and also, if possible, increase ambient temperature. Furazolidone, dimetridazole and ipronidazole have been used in the past. The effect of antibiotic may be related to the control of secondary bacterial enteritis.

Prevention

Depopulation, hygiene, all-in/all-out production, avoid interspecies mixing, and mixing groups of different ages.